One of the most iconic sports cars in the world, Porsche is responsible for supplying the inspiration and raw material for countless volumes. From technical details of rare race cars to the exhaustive cataloging of every edition in a specific model range, this best book review will take you on a high-octane thrill ride.
Whether you’re one of the legions of Porsche fans or a devotee of four-wheeled form and function, there’s a go-to read for everyone. Remember, the book you choose to adorn your coffee table is there to make a statement.
So, buckle-up, sink back into the luxurious leather bucket seats while we uncover what makes this iconic manufacturer tick.
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Porsche 911: 50 Years
This model-specific book highlights the first half-century of the illustrious Porsche 911. It focuses on each of the line-up’s iconic models.
From the emergence of the 901 prototype in 1963 (renamed the 911 to avoid conflict with Peugeot) to the curvy 991, Chicago-born author Randy Leffingwell spares no detail.
With so many iconic variations within the model range, Leffingwell has captured some of the 911’s most ground-breaking chapters. These include the track dominating RS, the 911 Turbo, the 959 supercar, and the last air-cooled 993.
Full of stunning photography and rare archive photos, the book’s many insightful interviews with Porsche movers and shakers bring five decades of Porsche to life.
Hardcover: 256 pages
Porsche – ‘Origin of the Species’ with Foreword by Jerry Seinfeld
Some books have a way of drawing the reader in from first glance of the cover, and ‘Origin of the Species’ is one such book. With the front cover 356 in all its unrestored glory, author Karl Ludvigsen sets the scene for his archive- rich dive into the first car to carry the Porsche DNA.
The automotive industry and motorsports historian’s latest book features the Gmund Coupe 356/2-040. This vehicle forms the cornerstone of the Jerry Seinfeld collection and is photographed by acclaimed automotive photographer Michael Furman.
What could have become a dusty history lesson springs to life via captivating text that showcases the depths of the author’s knowledge and love for one of the world’s most coveted makes.
Hardcover: 356 pages
The Porsche 911 Book (Photography)
Renowned automotive photographer and one of the most sought-after photographers in the industry, René Staud showcases his considerable talents on the 911.
Staud’s legendary images take center stage in ‘The Porsche 911 Book’, which follows the design classic’s pedigree over its first 50 years of production.
Staud developed and used his unique lighting system to capture 225 exquisitely-detailed photographs of the legendary 911 in this classic coffee table must-have.
Hardcover: 192 pages
The Porsche 911 Book – Revised Edition
This book is the original version of Rene Staud’s photographic master class in all its 336-page glory. Following the first 50 years of the Porsche 911 from the 901 to the 991, it covers models up to 2013.
Text is courtesy of automotive editor Jurgen Lewandowski and gives background information on each model along with basic technical specifications.
At a compact (11.73″ x 14.88″), what it lacks in size is more than made for up in magnitude, weighing in at a substantial 8.11-lb. This coffee table conversation- starter is a heavyweight Porsche publication in every sense of the word.
Hardcover: 336 pages
Porsche 70 Years: There Is No Substitute
Author Randy Leffingwell is a former Los Angeles Times journalist and author of 47 automotive books. He was fortunate enough to enjoy the Porsche factory’s collaboration when writing this title, and it shows.
Apart from lovingly crafted text and stunning photography courtesy of Michael Furman, the richly illustrated and detailed book captures every twist and turn of the Porsche factory’s seven-decade history.
Inside information direct from the horse’s mouth sheds light on engineering and design milestones with the artful help of rare historic images. Yet, it’s the priceless stories behind the development that will prove irresistible to Porsche devotees.
Hardcover: 256 pages
The Complete Book of Porsche 911: Every Model Since 1964
This book is yet another in author Randy Leffingwell’s catalog of automotive tomes, and it is sure to appeal to the legions of 911 fans.
As the title suggests, this coffee table essential is a comprehensive work on the entire 911 range. Here, you will discover everything you need to know, from the 901 prototype to the hi-tech GT2 and GT3’s and beyond.
Among the production models, there is attention paid to competition cars, prototypes, and limited productions. Once again, photography is top shelf, and images from the Porsche historical archive elevate the book to coffee table status.
Hardcover: 344 pages
The Porsche Book: The Best Porsche Images by Frank M. Orel
International award-winning photographer Frank M. Orel needs no introduction to sport car aficionados, and his work speaks for itself. This colossal page-turner is packed full of photography which at times touches on fine art.
As the book sweeps effortlessly from landmark model to model, it captures every detail of one of the world’s most iconic brands in flawless detail. Orel manages to produce a book that reveals more each time you re-visit.
With engaging text from German auto sports specialist Elmar Brümmer, you will need a substantial coffee table to showcase this behemoth of a book.
Hardcover: 368 pages
Porsche 356: Made by Reutter
When thinking of Porsche, it’s too easy to become glamorized by the top-of-the-range sports cars which define the brand today. But if you want an insight into how it all began, this book is the one for you.
This fascinating must-read details Porsches’ collaboration with German coachwork specialists Reutter and Co. The founder’s great-grandson, Frank Jung, tells the crucial role the company played in developing and producing the Porsche 356.
Unseen historical documents from the Reutter family archive, together with vintage gems from the Porsche historical archive, make this a must-have in your collection.
Hardcover: 336 pages
Porsche 911: The Ultimate Sportscar as Cultural Icon
To some, this book may sound like a degree student’s final year thesis, but far from being a stuffy academic read, author Ulf Poschardt’s take on the 911 is remarkably readable.
Highly detailed and at times controversial, the author not only puts the thinking man’s sports car under the microscope but also their owners.
Believing that the 911 is the ultimate symbol of aspiration and freedom, Poschardt concludes that to enjoy a Porsche’s full potential, a certain degree of narcissism is needed.
If you are fortunate enough to be the owner of the thinking men’s sports car, this is the book to reaffirm your love affair with your 911.
Hardcover: 240 pages
50 Years Porsche 914
Launched in 1969, the Porsche 914 became overshadowed by every other model in the line-up, to the point of being labeled the ‘housewife Porsche.’
Today, the diminutive two-seater has a cult following, and its DNA lives on in the Cayman and Boxster models.
This book tells in highly readable detail the collaboration between Volkswagen and Porsche responsible for producing this affordable mid-engine sports car.
Author Jurgen Lewandowski leaves no stone unturned in his research. He discovers gems of technical, development, and model history which all come together to make this book the finishing touch to your coffee table.
Hardcover: 176 pages
This book looks at the sparkling career of the Porsche 904, or to give it its official name, the Carrera GTS. Built primarily for road-racing events, Porsche launched a production run of just 100 road versions of the 904 to achieve homologation status.
With countless race wins under its belt, the 904 achieved cult status, and road-going versions became instant collector’s items.
Jurgen Lewandowski’s second delve into the Porsche archive produces a visual history of one of the manufacturer’s most visually striking models.
Hardcover: 224 pages
Porsche 917: The Heroes, the Victories, the Myth
The Ford GT40 grabbed the headlines by knocking Ferrari off the Le Mans top slot in 1966. But it was the Porsche 917 that ended GT40’s four-year winning streak. Launched in 1969 and winning Le Mans a year later, Porsche’s full-on race car was an instant hit.
In this book, author Jörg Th Födisch covers in spectacular detail the history and development of this amazing car. What sets the book apart is the conversations with team managers, engineers, and drivers, each of whom reveals their love-hate relationship with the legendary Porsche 917.
Every bit as classy as the car it honors, this book will take pride of place in your home or office.
Hardcover: 240 pages
Porsche: Cars With Soul
‘Cars With Soul’ begins with the pre-production 60K10 project of 1939, and Ferdinand Porsches’ take on a small, light, aerodynamic car powered by a small but dynamic motor.
World events shelved the project, but nine years later, the Porsche 356 launched the small factory on its historic path. The book focuses on Porsche’s early successes in motorsports, as told by the drivers, mechanics, engineers, and fans, who made it possible.
Life-long Porsche fan Gui Bernardes has written parts of the text from the car’s perspective, making for an interesting read.
Hardcover: 208 pages
Cars and Curves: A Tribute to 70 Years of Porsche
‘Cars and Curves’ takes the reader on a drive through memory lane. It covers the last 70 years of this iconic brand, albeit in a unique way. Rather than focus on mainstream Porsche landmarks, it highlights the more minor details that many may have missed.
Information weaves its way throughout a series of road trips. These see the author and his friends drive their Porsches’ across frozen lakes, alpine passes, and sun-baked deserts.
Rather than a dry history lesson accompanied with studio shots, author Stefan Bogner places the reader behind the wheel to experience the sights, sounds, and emotions as the world passes below his wheels.
“For us, a Porsche is the only logical interface with the road,” says Stefan, which is the perfect summation of ‘Cars and Curves.’
Hardcover: 432 pages
The Porsche Book (revised edition)
This edition is more or less the same book as ‘The Porsche Book: The Best Porsche Images by Frank M. Orel.’ An impressive 4.5-lb lighter than the original and in a ‘revised’ format, it features a more visually attractive front cover and has considerably more coffee table appeal than its predecessor.
The images are slick, and the text is somewhat sparse by comparison making this book excellent for fans of photography.
Hardcover: 304 pages
What Makes a Good Book a Collector’s Item?
Staunch Porsche enthusiasts will buy the majority of the books in our review with the intention of reading them from cover to cover and displaying them prominently.
As Porsche attracts an almost cult-like following, some books on the subject are often published in limited numbers or as special editions. These are the books destined to become collector’s items. Also, with Porsches’ model numbering system, limited editions are a given.
A perfect example of this is the ‘Ultimate Book of the Air-Cooled Porsche 911’. It was first produced in a limited run of 911 copies and available only direct from the publisher.
A quick search of the publisher’s website revealed that at the time of writing, there were only 26 copies available at the cost of GBP 175 each. This price is considered reasonable for a collector’s item. And over time, the book should increase in value.
There are those, of course, who collect limited edition books regardless of topic. However, for Porsche enthusiasts, a collector’s edition on their favorite subject is the ultimate win-win scenario.
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